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Broadway Star Elaine Stritch Dead at 89

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:15:17 +0000

Rommel Demano/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, Mich.) -- Broadway great Elaine Stritch died Thursday, her friend, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, told ABC News. She was 89.

"She passed away this morning at 8 o'clock at her home in Birmingham, Michigan," said Herdlicka, who worked with Stritch on a production of A Little Night Music. "She had several friends there and it was very peaceful and painless, from what I hear."

"It's been extremely heartbreaking for everybody in her family and everyone in New York," Herdlicka added.

Born in Detroit in 1926, Stritch moved to New York City at 17 to study at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School alongside Marlon Brando. She began her theater career in 1944 and in 1946 she made her Broadway debut. A few years later, she appeared on TV for the first time.

In the 1970s, she moved to London, where she starred in several West End productions, as well as a British sitcom, Two's Company. For that, she earned a BAFTA TV Award nomination.

Meanwhile, her personal life was evolving. In 1972, Stritch married actor John Bay, her co-star on Two's Company, who died 10 years later. Around that time, Stritch returned to America. She never remarried.

In 1993, Stritch earned an Emmy award for a guest-starring role she had in Law & Order. She went on to earn two more Emmys -- in 2004, for her variety program, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, and 2007, for her guest starring role on 30 Rock, in which she played the Alec Baldwin character's brassy mother.

Stritch, a five-time Tony nominee, also won a Tony for her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which explored her experiences with alcoholism, among other topics.

A longtime New Yorker, she moved back to Michigan last year.

"I don't know what to say about humor except thank God for it," she once told the New York Times. "I can change the subject of my life with humor when it's down. I can change it like that!"

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